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Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan Attends Fine Arts Lecture in Abu Dhabi

HH Lt. General, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan attends Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed Ramadan inaugural lecture on Islamic fine arts and history at Abu Dhabi.

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HH Lt. General, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan attended Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed Ramadan inaugural lecture on Islamic fine arts and history at Abu Dhabi this month.

The lecture, which took place in the Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed venue at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, was presented by Dr Ibrahim Shabouh, a renowned researcher, historian and expert in Islamic archaeology, widely recognised for reinterpreting the works of the 14th century historiographer and philosopher Ibn Khaldun.

Dr Shabouh began his talk by recounting the time he had the honour of accompanying the late Sheikh Zayed on a tour of the Great Mosque of Kairouan, during the UAE President’s visit to Tunisia in the mid-1970s. He recalled how Sheikh Zayed took a keen interest in the architecture of the historic mosque and the materials used in its construction.

The lecture explored examples of unique artworks and architecture from the dawn of Islamic civilization including intricate mosaics – such as those found in the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus – that feature early depictions of paradise. Using photographs to illustrate his presentation, Dr Shabouh discussed other elements of historic Islamic art, including intricate decorations carved into the stone facades of ancient palaces found throughout the Middle East region.

Another topic covered in the talk was early Arabic calligraphy, with the speaker giving detailed descriptions of the methods used in the production of centuries-old copies of the Quran, produced on leather parchment and painstakingly written in gold.

Through his examination of selected artworks and unique examples of architecture and decoration, Dr Shabouh presented a fascinating insight into the history of Islamic art, its influences and impact, and its role in promoting understanding between cultures.

The lecture was moderated by Calligraphy Artist Maryam Albalooshi and featured pre-recorded contributions from President of the Emirates Society for Arabic Calligraphy Khalid Aljallaf, Visual Media Artist Alya Alsanad and Visual Artist Patricia Millns. The topics du jour centred on how Islamic art, such as calligraphy, architecture and decoration, continue to influence artists and designers in the UAE as well as bridging bonds between diverse communities abroad.

Notes from the Editor: ‘Islamic Artworks: History and Heritage’ is available on the Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed YouTube channel (youtube.com/@MajlisMohamedbinZayed).

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